Report: Vancouver group looks to move Thrashers to Hamilton Staff

5/9/2009 10:00:50 PM

Hamilton is suddenly an NHL property hotbed.

As Research In Motion CEO Jim Balsillie battles Gary Bettman for control of the Phoenix Coyotes, there is reportedly a group interested in relocating the Atlanta Thrashers to Steeltown.

According to The Hamilton Spectator, city mayor Fred Eisenberger will meet with a Vancouver-based group on Monday to discuss a proposed lease for Copps Coliseum.

Eisenberger would not disclose any details of the second group, but a source confirmed to The Spectator that Vancouver developer Tom Gaglardi is leading the charge.

''By next Tuesday we will have a clearer picture of where we are'' Eisenberger told The Spectator. ''We're in the middle of discussions with Mr. Balsillie and his group and I will be meeting with the second group. We need to understand their intentions. It's fair to say I will be talking to that second group," Eisenberger said.

Gaglardi's group is Hamilton's second NHL suitor. City staff is currently working on a proposed lease with Balsillie, who hopes to buy and relocate the Coyotes to Hamilton for the 2009 season.

Gaglardi is reportedly interested in having the Thrashers in Hamilton in time for the 2010 season.

This is not the first time that Gaglardi has attempted to join the NHL fraternity.  In 2004 he attempted to purchase half of the Vancouver Canucks, however a British Columbia lower court ruled against him, instead awarding Francesco Aquilini the franchise.

The Thrashers have denied the report.

"There is no truth to it," GM Don Waddell told the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday night. "We are not a movable franchise. I have talked to our owners, and no one has had contact with any group."

With files from The Hamilton Spectator